The richest man in the world, Croesus, once asked the wisest man in the world, Thales, "What is God?" The philosopher asked for a day in which to deliberate, and then for another, and then for another, and another, and another and at length confessed that he was not able to answer, that the longer he deliberated, the more difficult it was for him to frame an answer.

The fiery Tertullian, the early Church Father, eagerly seized upon this incident and said it was an example of the world's ignorance of God outside of Christ. "There," he exclaimed, "is the wisest man in the world, and he cannot tell you who God is. But the ignorant among the Christians knows God, and is able to make him known unto others."